Remember the 13-year-old girl who was strip-searched because her vice principal thought she might be hiding ibuprofen in her underwear? The rationale in that case (to the extent that one can be divined) was that, while you can't actually use ibuprofen tablets to get high, they sorta look like things (hydrocodone, Valium, MDMA, etc.) that you can use to get high. A similar kind of quasi-reasoning was behind the three-day suspension of an 8-year-old boy from Harris Park Elementary School in Westminster, Colorado, for the offense of marker sniffing:
[Eathan] Harris used a black Sharpie marker to color a small area on the sleeve of his sweatshirt. A teacher sent him to the principal when she noticed him smelling the marker and his clothing.
"It smelled good," Harris said. "They told me that's wrong."…
[Principal Chris] Benisch stands by his decision to suspend Harris, saying it sends a clear message about substance abuse.
"This is really, really, seriously dangerous," Benisch said.
In his letter suspending the child, Benisch wrote that smelling the marker fumes could cause the boy to "become intoxicated."
A toxicologist with the Rocky Mountain Poison Control Center says that claim is nearly impossible.
Dr. Eric Lavonas says non-toxic markers like Sharpies, while pungent-smelling, cannot be used to get high.
"I don't know whether it would be possible for a real overachiever to figure out a way to get high off them," Lavonas said. "But in regular use, it's just not something that's going to happen."
"If you went to Costco and bought 50 bags of Sharpies and did something to them, maybe there's a way to get creative and make it happen," Lavonas said.
Adams County School District 50 leaders were unfazed by the poison control center's medical opinion.
"Principals make hundreds of decisions everyday based on our best judgment. And in that time, smelling that marker, I felt like, 'Wow, that's a very serious marker,'" Benisch said.
After all, the kid admits the marker "smelled good," which means he enjoyed sniffing it, which means it chemically stimulated the pleasure center of his brain, which makes its impact biochemically indistinguishable from that of a drug. I assume Harris Park Elementary School also bans flowers, perfumes, and fragrant food.
Have you ever heard of a case like this where school officials apologized and admitted they overreacted? Instead they circle the wagons and insist that their actions, no matter how objectively idiotic, were perfectly justified in the circumstances, what with the grave danger that [fill in the blank] poses to the youth of America. In this respect public school officials resemble the Transportation Security Administration. But at least the TSA has been known to change stupid policies once in a while, even if it doesn't admit how stupid they were to begin with.
[via The Freedom Files]